6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
JUST DO NOT CALL IT A DUNGEON SIEGE...,
This review is from: Dungeon Siege 3 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
The original Dungeon Siege was an unforgettable game that one can still greatly enjoy today. Its first sequel, DS2, was not as fun to play as it suffered from a number of issues yet it managed to retain the character of the series. Sadly this is not true for the third installment.
A VAST SELECTION OF...FOUR PREMADE CHARACTERS
This is the first thing that hits you. Unlike both previous DS games, DS3 offers only four characters: a Swordmaster (Lucas), a Gunslinger (Katarina), an Archon/Fire Elemental (Anjali) and a Mage (Reinhart). Can you change their gender? No. Can you alter their appearance? No. Can you personalize their stats? Since there are no stats, again: No.
Choose the Swordmaster and after a while realize that he is exactly that: a Sword-only warrior. No bows, no crossbows, no slings, no range weapons whatsoever! Not only are the classes limited, the abilities available to each one of them are severely restricted as well!
Now, when in a cRPG, I cannot identify with female heroes so the fact that in DS3 I cannot play a male gunslinger was major drawback. Such character restrictions are not only a major divergence from the DS tradition but also a serious flaw for any cRPG.
KNOW BLIND TYPE, WILL PLAY. OTHERS MAY ONLY TRY
Reeking of a hasty console port, the controls are a nightmare for the PC. You move with the W and S whereas you turn the camera with the A & D keys. You change your fighting stance with the Q button, you select your abilities with the number keys above whereas you block with the space-bar; you open your inventory with the F(?!) and your character page with the C key; and you need to keep hitting the E key every time you want to pick up or interact with something (more on this later). Did I mention the mouse so far? No. Since consoles cannot use a mouse, when it is eventually used (to attack) it feels like an...afterthought.
Now, since I always play using the arrow keys and rebind keys around them to every other function, were these settings modifiable there were be no problem - but for some unfathomable reason they are not! Hence, more often than not, two-fingers-typist me kept opening the inventory instead of rotating the camera right or opening doors...
Dungeon Siege series fans will remember that these are PC games - playable mostly with the mouse. Click on the character icon to open his inventory, click on the ground to move; click on a chest to open it. Since when did DS games require either a full keyboard or a ...gamepad!
PIXEL HUNTING? IN 2011? HONESTLY?
Approaching a container will pop an icon (an open hand or, quite redundantly in treasure chests, another...treasure chest). However, you cannot click on said icon to open the container. You have to hit E - and in order to do so your hero has to approach and step on the right spot. Now, you did all that, the container opens and the contained item(s) and gold drop on the floor. Can you click on them to pick it up? Strangely no.
The gold is automatically picked up by walking over it (but not walking by it or even standing on it!). More often than not your companion will even oblige you and pick up (most of) the dropped gold. However, that does not happen for items.
That makes sense, to avoid stuffing your inventory with items you would not want - until you realize that in order for the pickup-icon to appear over an item you have to, again, reposition your hero juuust right - and THEN you have to hit E once more. So, a game with awkward controls requires you to pixel-hunt to open chests and pick up loot from the floor. Come on, who thought of that one guys?
And, to add insult to injury, items already explored (say, a note on the floor) do not hide once viewed but remain there to further confuse you.
IMAGINE NO COMPANIONS...AND NO MULE TOO
Playing a DS game always meant you would be managing up to 6 companions, at least one of them being a pack animal with a much larger inventory. Selecting and balancing your companions and then equipping them and setting their default spells or attacks was a great part of the fun. In this third installment there is no pack animal and you only get one companion at a time - and not all the time.
The inventory is much larger now so I can understand why the pack animal could be omitted. And your hero (no matter his class) can transmute loot into gold so that covers a handy ability your party mage would have. However, such transmutation, for some reason, is only offered for some but not all of your unequipped items and can only be accessed by opening the Character(?) page and selecting the Items tab - but not the Inventory. Please read on.
CAN THE VICTOR HANDLE THE SPOILS?
DS3 has no unique items; it has no equipment sets either; and it has no locked levels that become available one by one - luring you to replay the game with higher level items.
Here is another annoyance: items you cannot equip due to your class are automatically stored in your Items storage to either sell them later or transmute them into gold. So you can transmute items you cannot or do not want to use - strangely though, not all of them.
Open a merchant's window (you talk to his...table, not the merchant) and the same thing happens there: you can sell items you cannot or do not want to use - but not all of them! As to the items available to buy, they are all there, regardless of class - and you have to be very careful to notice the class-compatibility! Otherwise you may end up spending all your gold on an item you cannot use.
THE KINGDOM OF EHB NEVER LOOKED NICER.
Because of the pre-release screenshots I had high expectations for this game - and to an extent they were justified. The environments, especially the exterior ones during daylight, are absolutely beautiful. I liked the dynamic shadows, the swinging lanterns and the swirling leaves; I enjoyed the zigzagging butterflies, the birds shying away and the dust stirred up by the hero's footsteps; and I stopped to take in the way flames dance and embers ride the thermals.
Move indoors though and the level of graphical details seems to drop a couple of notches. Moreover, dungeons are also darker than necessary. Even after increasing the gamma, the indoor environments look less impressive than the exterior ones. Come to think of it, even the original DS had more atmospheric dungeons.
So, the graphics overall are nice, not phenomenal but nice. Now, turn your hero around or (even worse) talk to a Non-Playing Character (NPC) and be further disappointed with how they look. Not even Barbara Walters uses so much soft-focus!
WHERE EXACTLY SHOULD I BE LOOKING AT?
The camera is just short of frustrating. Zoom all the way in and you are still looking at your hero from above, greatly reducing the drawing distance (for a game with such beautiful exterior environments, a major flaw). You cannot view from behind the hero, at shoulder height, like in Dragon Age: Origins. Zoom all the way out and you are still looking from an awkward angle, not exactly top-down and, although that was the zooming level I mostly used in the end, not exactly helpful either.
In all fairness, the entire DS series more or less has the same issue - but since so much was taken out of the game was it not possible to improve on just this one?
AND THE MUSIC PLAYED ON
You know how Hemsey's Mind Heist (of Inception trailer fame) makes everything epic? Well, so did the main theme of the original DS (I still use it as a ringtone for a group in my phone). DS3 ...well, not so much. The music stays in the background and it subtly complements the action on screen. It does have its moments - but it does not give your sword swings that extra umph or make you brave it out and risk staying in the battle just a little longer.
In fact, I loaded the game with the Main Theme of the original DS playing in the background and it was a big improvement!
REMEMBER REMEMBER THE SAVES OF NOVEMBER
DS3 has a save system that gave me some trouble at first - but that was my fault. The game will autosave at preset points which are usually spaced too far apart. Relay on them and, whenever your hero dies, you will find replaying from some point that seems ...months ago.
However, in order to make a save, you need to step into the yellow smoke and press E to bring up the save page (the game pops up balloon icons everywhere yet nobody thought to give a hint of this?!). Do this often, especially in the beginning when your hero is still of low level and (if, like me, you just do not do defense), expect to die every couple of hours or so.
You get 40 saves but you can overwrite older ones so there are plenty.
OMINOUS STEAM OVER THE SWAMP
You guessed it, DS3 comes with mandatory STEAM tie-in. With only rare notable exceptions I deduct a full star from my rating for such restrictive DRM schemes. This was not one of those exceptions. If STEAM is not important to you, feel free to adjust for this deduction. Otherwise, you have been warned.
I cannot know whether OBSIDIAN aimed primarily to the console market to avoid competing with DIABLO III (rumored to be released in June but probably still months away) or it simply rushed its PC port for the same reason. In any case, this is a mediocre action cRPG at best in need of numerous patches.
Replay the original DS, it is a much better game.
Alternatively, wait for the price to match the product.